For continuity I will refer to Angel as 'she' even when she is not in drag and obviously I do not own RENT.

Nervously Angel looked around the entrance to her new school Larson High. She was very grateful for the presence of her best friend Mimi as she looked at all the unfamiliar faces. Mimi's parents had allowed her to move schools so that she could study dance. Angel's reasons were rather different. She had made the mistake of coming out to her closest friends at school and all but Mimi had turned against her.

Looking around the school corridor caused the memories to come flooding back: the rumours running around the school; the name calling; the verbal abuse; the beatings. Just making it through the day had been a challenge and she had always had to hide the cuts and bruises at home. Her father had strict ideas of how his son should behave and when he did notice her injuries (though she had never explained why she was bullied) he would turn on her for not being man enough to stand up to the bullies. To escape Angel had studied hard enough to transfer to Larson High- the best school in the area.

Angel's jaw tightened with determination. She would learn from her mistakes. She would not let anyone here know she was gay and certainly not that she would go to her friend's house to wear drag. The thought caused a stab of regret in her heart that she had to hide who she truly was, but she had to if she wanted to make it to the end of school in one piece. If the beatings started again here there was no other school for her to make a fresh start.

"Oh no!" Mimi's exclamation brought her back to the present. "Our first classes are the opposite side of the school." Regretfully the two split up to find their rooms promising to meet at lunch.

Managing to arrive just before the start of her English class Angel slid into a seat at the back next to a nerdy looking blond boy with glasses. As she sat down he looked up hopefully before seeing it was her. Heart sinking at the look of disappointment in his expression she made to stand up.

"Would you like me to sit somewhere else?" she offered.

"No! No! It's just I hoped… I mean… thought you were someone else" Angel smiled at the boy's awkward speech.

"I'm Angel" she said holding out her hand.

"Mark" he replied shaking it. "I don't think I recognise you, are you new here?"

"Yes this is my first day. So who did you hope I would be?"

"My friend Roger. He's been having a… rough time." Mark paused for a moment before deciding he could trust Angel enough to tell her. "His girlfriend killed herself at the end of last year and he hasn't left home since. Was hoping he'd come in for school, but obviously not."

"I'm sorry" Angel said softly. Looking into her eyes Mark could tell she meant it rather than offering up one of the many platitudes he'd heard over the last week.

After getting their food from the canteen Mark led Angel to a table in a corner of the room. They were soon joined by a girl coming at high speed towards them.

"Markie! Hi look who we've met!" The girl said gesturing to Mimi and another girl who were following at a slower pace.

"Angel!" Mimi called.

"Mimi!" Angel relied happy to see the familiar face.

"You mean you know each other?" the louder girl asked.

"Never met her before in my life" Angel answered dead pan. The louder girl looked confused for a moment before the other one burst out laughing, then stepping forward introduced herself as Joanne and her friend as Maureen.

"So how do you know each other?" Mimi asked, regretting it once she saw the awkward look pass between Mark and Joanne.

"Mark was my boyfriend before I met Joanne" Maureen replied oblivious. Angel felt a ray of hope at these words- this school had an openly lesbian couple? Then she forced the thoughts back- she just couldn't risk a repeat of her last school.

"Where's Collins?" Joanne asked to change the subject.

"Who's Collins?" Angel interjected.

"Our resident anarchist who at this moment is probably tapping into the school computer system" Mark responded.

As they all ate their lunch Angel found herself relaxing- it was amazing how at home she felt with these people as if she had known them for years. As they finished eating Joanne offered to show them where their next classes would be so they stood up to leave.

"Collins!" Mark exclaimed and as Angel looked up she felt pinned to the spot. Standing before her was the most handsome guy she had ever seen. Tall, dark and handsome her eyes greedily took in every detail: his height which could have made him look lanky if it were not for his well-defined muscles; his broad chest that she wanted to curl up against; his lips that curled into a lazy smile. He had a mouth made for kissing she decided- soft lips she wanted to brush hers against.

Suddenly Collins' folder fell to the floor with a crash and blushing he bent down to pick up his stuff. Angel knelt down beside him handing him back some sheets of paper and as she looked up her heart skipped a beat at finding herself so close to him. She breathed in his masculine scent and let their fingers brush as she passed some papers back, delighting at the jolt of electricity that seemed to pass through them. Smiling up at him she whispered "you're cute when you blush."

"Angel! Hurry up!" Joanne called still waiting to show her round. Reluctantly she stood up to leave and with a little wave said "bye" to Collins and left the canteen.

Any reviews would be much appreciated. Thanks for reading.